Toyota recalls vehicles in Japan, Europe for Takata air bag defect after injury in Japan

TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 1.6 million vehicles for defective air bags supplied by embattled Japanese manufacturer Takata Corp.

The recall includes 22 models sold in Japan, including the Corolla and Vitz, manufactured from January 2004 through December 2005, as well as vehicles in Italy, Britain and Spain, although those numbers were still unclear. It doesn’t include any vehicles in the U.S.

Takata inflators can explode with too much force, sending out shrapnel. At least eight people have been killed worldwide and hundreds injured.

The problem has led to the recall of 19.2 million vehicles in the U.S., and government regulators are investigating. Millions more may be recalled.

No injuries were reported in Toyota vehicles related to the latest defect, which affects the passenger seat air bag, but a person in a Nissan Motor Co. car was injured recently in Japan.

Toyota has announced nearly 15 million recalls in relation to problem Takata inflators worldwide, nearly 3 million each in the U.S. and Japan, spokeswoman Kayo Doi said.

Earlier this month, U.S. auto safety regulators fined Takata $70 million for concealing evidence for years that its air bags are prone to explode.

Under a five-year pact, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can increase the penalty to a record $200 million if the company fails to abide by the terms.

Toyota, Ford Motor Co. of the U.S., Japanese automakers Honda Motor Co. and Nissan have decided not to use Takata inflators in vehicles under development.


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